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The Sci-Fi Drama Hidden Gem You Can Stream On HBO Max

Good science fiction is less about predicting the future and more about reflecting the fears and anxieties of the present, and there's a lot to be frightful of right now. Wealth inequality, job automation, and corrupt politicians continue to fuel trepidation about what the world will look like shortly, and one series dared to take a direct look at what all the problems facing the world could look like in the next decade — "Years and Years."

The BBC series, which is now available to watch in its entirety on HBO Max, follows your average family just trying to work and juggle life; however, their lives are drastically changed on one fateful day in 2019 that sets the course for all the trials and tribulations they will face moving forward. From the United States firing nuclear weapons on Hong Sha Dao and politicians taking more cues from reality stars than actual leaders, the family is helpless as the world around them gradually changes into something that looks very different from what we know now. 

It's a haunting vision of how the actions being taken in the present could play out unless more responsible leaders are elected. With only six episodes running at about an hour in length each, it's very much worth your attention and will remain in your psyche for some time to come.

Years and Years is one of the most terrifying shows to come out in recent memory

If you're a fan of "Black Mirror" and how each episode tends to focus on a singular issue society will have to deal with in the future, "Years and Years" ramps the concept up to 11. It all starts when a businesswoman, Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson), decides to run for public office and says the F-word on live television, but she runs with it and ends up becoming an even more influential figure. As the show follows her rise to power and all the problems that comes with, we also follow the Lyons family as they deal with losing jobs from artificial intelligence and feeling pressured to undergo cybernetic surgeries. 

The thing that makes "Years and Years" so horrifying is the fact that the central Lyons family really can't do anything about their plight. This isn't "The Hunger Games" where they'll lead an uprising to create a new, better world. They're helpless from the forces of politicians and businessmen (and the fusion between the two), and all they can do is try to navigate the various changes that come into their existence. Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic put it best when she wrote in her review, "The anxious thrill of watching 'Years and Years' comes not only from seeing the future unfurl in front of you, but also from watching how it ripples through the lives of this very modern, delightfully fractious family." 

"Years and Years" on HBO Max may not be pure escapism if you want a break from the downer nature of the news recently, especially in light of how one episode focuses on a pandemic. However, it's important to be cognizant of the dangers facing society, and when you feel up for a sci-fi, dystopian story, turn on "Years and Years."